On behalf of the staff and ownership, we would like to share the history of Pine Hollow with you.
The original owner of Pine Hollow Maurice Bracket, purchased the land from Swade E. Barbour, Jr. In 1967-1968 he built the front nine and designed and developed the back nine in 1975-1976. Interestingly, the front nine are located in Johnston County and the back nine are in Wake Country. The A-frame that still stands today–adjacent to the 1st tee–was the original pro shop. Because of country restrictions, in order to sell alcohol, the decision was made to use the small white shed–just a chip shot from the a-frame–as the ‘official’ pro shop. This shed remained until the current pro shop and grill were built in 1982. The course ownership transferred to Jack Monroe in the late 1970s.
THE MISSOURI CONNECTION
In the summer of 1982, a 'Johnston' visited Raleigh and fell in love with the city and the town of Clayton, Johnston County. As a golf connoisseur, Harry Johnston was immediately interested in purchasing Pine Hollow golf course. Harry, retired Senior VP of The St. Louis Union Trust Company, hired a firm from Michigan focused on purchasing and selling golf courses throughout the country. Because Harry and his family lived in St. Louis, Missouri, he needed someone he could trust to run the day-to-day operations. Luckily, he knew a guy.
Harry met Mike Marvel at the St. Louis Country Club, where Mike worked as an assistant pro, and his wife Pam, as a part-time waitress. Harry and his wife Sally Johnston enjoyed lessons from Mike Marvel—their friendship began on the course. One day, Mike mentioned to Harry that he would love to run his own golf operation and Harry echoed that same dream. The rest is “Pine Hollow history.” The Marvel’s moved to Clayton in November of 1982 and got to work.
Mike Marvel enticed Grant Warren, a colleague from the Terre Du Lac Golf Club in mid-Missouri, to join the endeavor. Grant received his degree in agronomy at the University of Missouri, so naturally, he was given the role of Greens Superintendent of Pine Hollow. Grant, and his wife Randy, moved to Clayton in March of 1983.
Sadly, Harry passed away in October 2013, but the course remains in the Johnson family. Today, Sally, Elizabeth, Steve, and Bob Johnston keep Harry’s vision and love of Pine Hollow alive and well in Johnston County, North Carolina.
GOLF COURSE IMPROVEMENTS
At the time Harry purchased Pine Hollow in 1982, the course averaged 12,000 rounds per year. In 1983, Mike hired Jim Bennett to install 36,000 feet of irrigation lines and rounds skyrocketed to 25,000+ the next year, and to over 30,000 rounds the second year onward.
Within the realm of golf economics, it was decided that Pine Hollow would be better served by turning semi-private, thereby alleviating the financial burden of slow winter months. The course opened to membership with roughly 100 golfers.
In 2000, Mike Marvel hired renowned course designer Bob Moore to renovate the greens from Bent to Mini Verde Bermuda. Bringing his experience from Nags Head and Chapel Ridge, Moore was able to dramatically improve the quality and playability of the course. Membership quickly grew to 200.
In 2006, ownership decided to renovate the entire course to match the quality of the greens—adding bunkers, new tees, rolling undulation, and more. Over the past few years, membership has grown to 300+ where it will remain to still allow optimal tee times for public play.
At 6,900 yards and a Par 71, with the renovations over the past two decades, and the continual daily upkeep, Pine Hollow Golf Club has become one of the most desirable places to play in Eastern North Carolina and continues to be an important asset to the town of Clayton.